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McAllen - Grammar and Writing Development Through the Year and for STAAR

Trail of Breadcrumbs, LLC

Tuesday, July 10, 2018 from 6:26 PM to 6:27 PM (CDT)

McAllen - Grammar and Writing Development Through the...

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Grammar and Writing Development Through the Year and for STAAR - McAllen
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Event Details

Grammar and Writing Development


Through the Year and for STAAR

with Gretchen Bernabei

October 10 - 11, 2017 in McAllen, TX

8:30am - 2:30pm


This workshop will model layered instruction, weaving between grammar and writing, using materials Gretchen has adapted from STAAR released tests and live student STAAR essays. Specific high-yield strategies covered include:



Nailing fragments and run-ons, using the sentence wringer

Wiping out usage problems (like its/it’s and there/their/they’re) once

and for all

Showing your students how to use their parts-of-speech knowledge

Keeping track of your grammar-teaching-in-context




Kernelizing passages for comprehension and multiple choice ease

Recognizing and using pitchforking in questions

Extracting text structures from passages



Generating quick lists and kernel essays 

Choosing from five text structures for expository or persuasive essays

Using icons for developing details



Participants will receive a copy of Grammar Keepers and Text Structures from Nursery Rhymes


Who is it for? 

Anyone teaching writing (pre-k through 12)

Anyone who lays the instructional foundation (grades 4-11) for STAAR writing and reading tests



Day One – Building the Moves

Focus on Instruction and Development of Skills


         8:00 – 8:30          Registration and continental breakfast

         8:30 – 9:15          One moment/10 uses for journals

         9:15 – 10:00        Pedagogy of grammar dialogues

                                     Star points and they’re/their/there

                                     Tracking chart


         10:00 – 10:10      Break


         10:10 - 11:00       Kernel essay:  Prize Possession


         11:00 – 11:30      Capturing and using craft


         11:30 – 12:30      Lunch on your own


         12:30 – 12:45      Video resources: Color-it-up

         12:45 – 1:00        Sparkling sentences

         1:00 – 1:40          Sentence wringer and paragraph overhaul

         1:40 – 2:00          Sentence wringer using ba-da-bings

         2:00 – 2:20          Kernel essay: Picking Up the Pieces

         2:20 – 2:30          Implementation: quantity counts



Day Two – Showing the Moves

Focus on Assessment


         8:00 – 8:30          Star point: apostrophes

         8:30 – 9:15          Quick list and kernel essay for STAAR

         9:15 – 10:00        STAAR structures and scoring

                                     Live papers from 2016 and 2017


         10:00 – 10:10       Break


         10:10- 11:00        11-minute essay

                                      Applying the sentence wringer

         11:00 – 11:30       Pitchforking

                                      Specificity in language


         11:30 – 12:30       Lunch on your own


         12:30 – 12:45       Sparkling sentences

         12:45 – 1:00         Sentence wringer on STAAR

           1:00 – 1:40         Using remediation packets

           1:40 – 2:00         Dead giveaways on STAAR

           2:00 – 2:20         Kernel essay: Picking Up the Pieces

           2:20 – 2:30         Implementation: empowering by



Is this the same as Gretchen's previous workshops?

Participants will receive new links to STAAR materials adapted by Gretchen, using the STAAR 2016 and 2017 released tests from grades 4 and 7, EOC I and EOC II. The basic strategies are the same.


What people are saying:



Best training I have ever attended!

-       Megan Stewart, grade 4 teacher


These ideas, lessons and messages WORK! You have turned us into expert writing teachers. I feel refreshed and have learned so much!

                                    - Kelsey Barbour, grade 4 teacher


The year I implemented the Grammar Keepers strategies, my 7th grade STAAR revising and editing scores went up 20%.

                                    -Rebekah Jacobson, grade 7 teacher


Engaging, stimulating and magical days of knowledge that I can immediately take back to my classroom and implement with my students. These are lessons that will challenge and enrich every reader and writer.

                                    -Marie Cleary, grade 7 teacher



Thank you so much! What I’ve learned is going to help my struggling EOC kids so much!

                                    -Aidan Apperley, HS teacher


Using your strategies, the confidence level of my babies went through the roof!

                                    - Genevieve Tellez, HS teacher


Gretchen is the winner of NCTE's James Moffett Award.

Have questions about McAllen - Grammar and Writing Development Through the Year and for STAAR? Contact Trail of Breadcrumbs, LLC

When & Where

McAllen Conference Center
700 Convention Ctr. Blvd.
McAllen, Texas 78501

Tuesday, July 10, 2018 from 6:26 PM to 6:27 PM (CDT)

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Trail of Breadcrumbs, LLC


Gretchen Bernabei taught for 34 years in Texas public schools.

Gretchen has shared her experience with other teachers through seminars, journal articles and books, offering field-tested techniques for teaching writing. Her publications include The Good Writer’s Kit for Hampton-Brown/National Geographic; Why We Must Run with Scissors (with Barry Lane) and Reviving the Essay: Teaching Structure without Formula. She is also the author of Lightning in a Bottle, a program featuring photographs on CD-ROM used to prompt and guide student writing. She contributed the chapter, “The School Essay: Tracking Movement of the Mind” in Teaching the Neglected “R”:Rethinking Writing Instruction in Secondary Classrooms. She has published two anthologies of high-scoring student TAKS essays entitled Sparklers: High Scoring Test Essays and What They Teach Us and More Sparklers. Other titles include Crunchtime, The Story of My Thinking, both from Heinemann.  Her titles from Corwin Literacy include Fun-Size Academic Writing, Grammar Keepers, and most recently, Text Structures from the Masters.

Currently, Gretchen and her Trail of Breadcrumbs consultants conduct staff development events around the country.  She lives in San Antonio.

Learn more about Gretchen on her website:


Trail of Breadcrumbs, LLC
1111 Mt Rainier
San Antonio, TX  78213
Phone:  (323) 839-0604


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